Holy Week: Tuesday

 

Context of the Parable

The next morning Jesus goes to the Temple and begins to share a few stories with those who are there. He’s bothered by what He had seen yesterday at the temple and wants to get to the heart of the religious elite. He does this by sharing stories. This is one of those stories:

 

Read: Matthew 21:28b-32

A man with two sons told the older boy, “Son, go out and work in the vineyard today.”  The son answered, “No, I won’t go,” but later he changed his mind and went anyway.  Then the father told the other son, “You go,” and he said, “Yes, sir, I will.” But he didn’t go.

“Which of the two obeyed his father?” They replied, “The first.” 

Then Jesus explained His meaning: “I tell you the truth, corrupt tax collectors and prostitutes will get into the Kingdom of God before you do.  For John the Baptist came and showed you the right way to live, but you didn’t believe him, while tax collectors and prostitutes did. And even when you saw this happening, you refused to believe him and repent of your sins.”

 

Reflect

Upon reading the story Jesus told and reading through the observation, what comes to mind? Do you relate to this story? If so, how? Take time to reflect on this parable and allow God to speak to you.

 

 

Observe

What is Jesus getting at here? This story is about integrity, and Jesus is addressing the religious elite. Jesus had witnessed, the day before at the temple, they have lost their integrity, they have lost their way. They look great and are well spoken, but talk is cheap. What matters is actually living what they know and yet they won’t do it. 

Jesus is exhorting them to actually do the will of the Father from the heart (Matt. 7:15-27). We know what people believe based on how they live their life, not by what they may claim to believe. And Jesus is trying to make that clear with the religious elite who are professing righteousness, yet there is no fruit, there is nothing, just empty words because they are not repenting and they don’t actually believe in God. They believe in their own self-righteousness.  

 

Pray

Ask God to give you the ability and the strength to live out your faith in your daily life.

 
Posted on March 27, 2018 and filed under Devotional.

Holy Week: Monday

 

Read: Matthew 21:12-16

Jesus entered the Temple and began to drive out all the people buying and selling animals for sacrifice. He knocked over the tables of the money changers and the chairs of those selling doves. He said to them, “The Scriptures declare, ‘My Temple will be called a house of prayer,’ but you have turned it into a den of thieves!”

The blind and the lame came to Him in the Temple, and He healed them.  The leading priests and the teachers of religious law saw these wonderful miracles and heard even the children in the Temple shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David!” But the leaders were indignant. They asked Jesus, “Do you hear what these children are saying?”

“Yes,” Jesus replied. “Haven’t you ever read the Scriptures? For they say, ‘You have taught children and infants to give you praise.” Then He returned to Bethany, where he stayed overnight.

 

Reflect

Re-read the passage, what sticks out to you? Why? 

 

Observe

After Jesus’ triumphant entry we see He makes it all the way to the temple. Knowing very well that He’s about to run into authorities that have been wanting to kill Him …He doesn’t hold back from letting the public know that what they are doing is not okay.  

Since it was Passover that area of the temple would be extremely crowded, imagine main street at Disneyland… that kind of crowded. 

So Jesus is amongst the crowd at the temple, He sees what’s going on and He then quotes part of Isaiah 56:7 in which Isaiah says that God’s house was a house of prayer for all people. However, Jesus is standing in the “Court of the Gentiles” which was the only part of the Temple into which the Gentiles could go. This was not God’s intent for people to be segregated in different sections of the temple, this place was for anyone who wanted to encounter God’s presence. 

He then quotes Jeremiah 7:11, which says, “you have turned the temple into a den of thieves.” There were those in the temple who were exploiting other people for profit. Money laundering, selling doves, they were taking advantage of people, in the name of God, for profit. 

Jesus makes it clear that this is not okay. 

But even in Jesus judgment of those who are doing wrong, the blind and the lame come to Him and He heals them. Jesus is our judge but He’s also our healer and comforter. 

 

Pray

Pray that God will show you any areas in which you are tempted to look at Jesus or Christianity as a means to serve your own selfish desires. Ask God to give you the Christ-like heart of a servant.

 
Posted on March 26, 2018 and filed under Devotional.

Holy Week: Palm Sunday

 

Read: Matthew 21:1-11

As Jesus and the disciples approached Jerusalem, they came to the town of Bethphage on the Mount of Olives. Jesus sent two of them on ahead.  “Go into the village over there,” He said. “As soon as you enter it, you will see a donkey tied there, with its colt beside it. Untie them and bring them to me.  If anyone asks what you are doing, just say, ‘The Lord needs them,’ and he will immediately let you take them.”

This took place to fulfill the prophecy that said, “Tell the people of Jerusalem, Look, your King is coming to you. He is humble, riding on a donkey— riding on a donkey’s colt.” The two disciples did as Jesus commanded.  They brought the donkey and the colt to Him and threw their garments over the colt, and He sat on it.

Most of the crowd spread their garments on the road ahead of him, and others cut branches from the trees and spread them on the road.  Jesus was in the center of the procession, and the people all around him were shouting, “Praise God for the Son of David! Blessings on the one who comes in the name of the Lord! Praise God in highest heaven!”  The entire city of Jerusalem was in an uproar as He entered. “Who is this?” they asked.  And the crowds replied, “It’s Jesus, the prophet from Nazareth in Galilee.”

 

Reflect

Put yourself into this scene as one of the crowd along the roadside. What are you doing? What do you see and hear? What emotions are you feeling? What are your expectations?

 

Observe

It’s Passover and Jerusalem is crowded with pilgrims coming from all over to celebrate. According to some consensus back then there would be an estimated 2,700,000 people in Jerusalem. This was the moment the Father chose Jesus to participate in the beginning of this Passion Week. A time where Jews from all over the world come to Jerusalem. A time where the most people would be able to see Jesus for who He really is. 

He shows people who He is by coming into the city riding on a donkey. This event had two meanings to the people back then. Zechariah predicted that the victorious and righteous king, the Messiah, will come riding on a donkey. 

When Jesus came riding in on a donkey, those watching knew Zechariah 9:9, they knew what Jesus was saying by doing that. Jesus purposed to show the people that He was, in fact, that which Zechariah had predicted all those years ago. Also, in the Ancient Near East, a king riding a donkey into a city meant that he come not conquer, but to come in peace. 

By riding in on a donkey He’s claiming to be the King of Peace. The One who will ultimately put everything back into order as it should be, the One who came not to destroy but to love, not to condemn but to help.  

 

Pray

Thank God for His peace that surpasses all understanding. Ask God to give you His peace today.

 
Posted on March 25, 2018 and filed under Devotional.

Holy Week Introduction (2018)

 

When an occurrence becomes repetitive in our life we are often desensitized to its reality.

Remember when your shoes were brand new? You kept looking down at them, all nice and clean, but somewhere down the line, they lost their luster. Over time your shoes became part of the routine of your daily, repetitive life.

Easter is our annual spring holiday, and for the most part, we gather with family and friends. We go to church, dressed in festive fashion, and hear about Jesus rising from the grave for the salvation of mankind. We are moved to some degree by the worship and the message, we then go on our way to whatever family function we have planned.

Yet, in the midst of our traditions, in the midst of our repetitive lifestyle, there is a reality that’s more than just words on a page. The reality is…

Jesus really did live.

Jesus really did suffer.

Jesus really did die.

Jesus rose from the grave.

Jesus is alive.

And our response to this reality has real implications.

This daily devotional this week is designed to take us along Jesus’ journey to Jerusalem and the events that took place all the way up to His death and resurrection. Tomorrow we will look at the events of Palm Sunday.

 

History of Holy Week

In the first century, the early Christians celebrated every Sunday in commemoration of the resurrection of Jesus. By the second century, they established a particular day for the celebration of the resurrection, which was connected to the Jewish Passover. Their observance began at sundown on Saturday evening. They called it the Night of the Great Vigil, a time of remembrance and expectation that lasted throughout the night so they could sing “Alleluia” at dawn on Easter morning. 

By the fourth century, it became customary for people to make pilgrimages to Jerusalem to celebrate what was called the “Great Week,” which included Holy Thursday, Good Friday, the Easter Vigil and Easter Sunday. 

Over time, the practice of observing Holy Week spread throughout the Christian world, with prayers, historical re-enactments, and special liturgies. During the Middle Ages, the celebration of the Easter Vigil gradually fell out of practice. The important days of the week were Palm Sunday, Holy Thursday, Good Friday and Easter Sunday.

 

Holy Week FAQs

Who decides the date of Easter?

In 325, the Council of Nicaea decreed that Easter would be celebrated on the Sunday following the first full moon after the spring equinox. It can occur as early as April 22 or as late as April 25.

Why use the word “Passion” to describe the suffering of Jesus?

The word “Passion” comes from the Latin word for suffering. When referring to the events leading up to the death of Jesus, we capitalize the word Passion to differentiate from the modern meaning of the word with its romantic overtones.

Why do we call it “Good Friday?”

There’s not a clear answer for this. Some think “Good Friday” probably evolved from “God’s Friday” in the same way that “Good-bye” evolved from “God be with you.” The word “good” is sometimes used in the Bible in the sense of “holy.” So the term Good Friday might be derived from some olden expression such as Holy Friday. Or it could be because what appeared at first to be a tragedy was in fact a triumph -- because by Jesus’ death on the cross He purchased our salvation. 

 

Holy Week Customs

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Palm crosses: These are made to commemorate the palm branches laid down before Jesus as He entered jerusalem.The easiest way to make a cross from palms is to cut two pieces of the palm, arrange in the shape of a cross, put a thumbtack in the middle, and attach the cross to a doorway or a bulletin board. 

Housecleaning: In many cultures the Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday of Holy Week are designated as days for vigorous housecleaning in preparation for Easter. This custom probably evolved from the Jewish custom of ritual cleaning before Passover.

Coloring eggs: Decorating eggs was a symbol of rebirth at springtime for the Romans, Greeks, Egyptians, Persians and the Chinese. Christians adopted the colored egg as a symbol of new life which comes with the Resurrection.

Sweet breads: In many cultures, Holy Week was traditionally a time for baking sweet breads, cakes and pastries that would be served on Easter Sunday.

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New clothes: From the time of the early Christians, the newly baptized wore white garments made from new linen. In medieval times, it became a tradition for people to wear new clothes on Easter Sunday, symbolizing the “new life” that comes with the Resurrection. 

Easter lilies: The tradition of buying Easter lilies during Holy Week for use as decorations in homes and churches came into practice in the 1800s. The white flower is a symbol of purity and new life that heralds the resurrection of Jesus.

(Our Holy Week Guide posts originally appeared on our blog last year.)

What are your favorite Easter traditions?

 

 
Posted on March 25, 2018 and filed under Devotional.

Jesus Jam 2018!

March 22, 2018

 
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JESUS JAM

6:00-9:00 PM, Friday, April 13

Jesus Jam is an evening of dining and dancing for our friends with disabilites and this year’s theme is Superheroes! This is one of our favorite nights of the year!

ATTEND

If you would like to attend or know someone with disabilities who would like to, just show up! Our theme is Superheroes so feel free to dress as your favorite!

We will eat dinner from 6:00-7:00 PM and then we will dance, watch movies, and play games from 6:30-9:00 PM.

VOLUNTEER

We also have lots of opportunities to volunteer including;

  • serving dinner
  • helping with set-up
  • running the photo booth
  • attending the parking lot, visiting with parents
  • providing snacks
  • manning the movie room
  • playing board games
  • applying make-up
  • being buddies
  • helping with clean-up
  • dancing the night away with our friends.

To volunteer, sign up at tinyurl.com/JesusJam2018 or the Sign Up Counter in the Atrium. There will be a volunteer training on Sunday, April 8 at College Heights in the Gym.

 
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Posted on March 22, 2018 and filed under Events.

Easter at College Heights: You Belong Here!

March 21, 2018

 
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Easter Weekend

Next Friday, March 30, we will have three identical 30 minute Good Friday services at 7:15 AM, 12:15 PM, 5:15 PM. These will be in the Chapel and we are looking forward to gathering with you on this special day.

On Easter Sunday we will have two services, one at 9:00 AM and one at 11:00 AM.

 
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Preparation for Easter

For those who would like to prepare ahead of time, we will be publishing a Holy Week Guide. This is a daily devotional from Palm Sunday (this coming Sunday) through Easter Sunday.

 
Posted on March 21, 2018 and filed under Events.

Practicing Hospitality at Church

 

Our hospitality reflects the hospitality of God who embraces all people with love and grace. Here are ten simple things we ALL can do to show hospitality:

Be Willing to Walk

Too often the guests end up having to park somewhere on the far side of the moon because the closer spots are long gone. Take the parking spaces near the back and leave the best parking spots for others.

Own The Building

If you invited someone to your home, you would expend a little effort making the place look nice. It takes a group effort to keep a building as big as ours clean and neat. If you see trash, be a pal and pick it up!

Move to the Middle

Move to the middle so guests don’t have to walk over you. Trying to find a seat is part of what keeps newcomers away – it’s hard enough to come in and just sit down! We promise you’ll survive in your new location!

Smile Like You Mean It

A smile may be all a person needs to feel welcome! Guests feel more at ease when they see smiling people. You can resume your somber expressions when you get home.

Rule of Three

Challenge yourself to talk only to those you don’t know for the first three minutes after the service–that’s about how long it takes guests to leave after church. We want to let them know they are noticed and welcome!

Circle of Ten

Greet anyone, member or guest, who comes within ten feet of you. Make a special effort to greet the people you don’t already know within your Circle of Ten.

Look for the Lost Look

If someone looks like they don’t know where to go…then they probably don’t! Step out of your comfort zone and ask if you can help. As an added challenge, don’t just tell them where to go, show them!

Everyone’s Favorite Word

Everyone likes to hear their name. Imagine visiting a church and on the second visit, someone you met the week before calls you by name. You would feel noticed, remembered, and welcome!

Make The First Move

Guests may be overwhelmed by the newness of their experience. Try engaging them in conversation. Asking questions communicates you care!

Invite Them Back

When saying goodbye to a guest, it’s a simple thing to say, “Thank you for being here. We’d love to have you come again!” Many people are looking for a place to belong. Let’s make College Heights that place!

Don’t forget to be kind to strangers, for some who have done this have entertained angels without realizing it!
— Hebrews 13:2
 
Posted on March 20, 2018 .

Parenting Workshop on April 28

 

Gospel Centered Parenting Workshop: Hope for Every Parent!

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Saturday April, 28, 9:00 AM - 12:30 PM
Cost:$25 Individual/$35 Couple

Do you ever wonder if being a “good” parent raising “good” kids is really what God designed? What if God’s plans for parents erased guilt and gave freedom? What would it mean if the Gospel was the center of our family? Is there really hope for every parent? 

Join us for Gospel-Centered Parenting as we lay a foundation that seeks to transform the hearts of our children. Parenting isn’t easy, but a Gospel center is a firm anchor in the midst of uncertainty. In this alone is our hope. 

Workshop Includes:

  • Continental Breakfast, Coffee, and Snacks
  • Childcare (Up to 5th Grade must register online.)
  • 2 Focus Sessions
  • 2 Elective Workshops
  • Free Book
  • All Online Resources
 
Posted on March 15, 2018 and filed under Events.